Okay, now that you have that boatload of traffic you’ve been working so hard to generate, where the heck are all the subscribers?

You’ve spent hours writing amazing content, you’re brilliant with social media, and you’ve established your position as an expert. Except, you’ve only been able create $285 in sales over the last 18 months… what’s going on here?

If your traffic analytics don’t match up with expected revenue, there could be a very simple reason. Your call to action is weak. Many online marketers make the mistake of overlooking the importance of a persuasive call to action. Neglected, it’s much like the ugly frog who wants a kiss – you’d really rather ignore it. But give it a bit of attention, and voila! Watch it powerfully convert traffic into subscribers and buyers.

The good news is, a weak call to action is easy to correct. If you think this might be your problem, have a look and see if you’re making any of the following common mistakes.

1. The Camouflaged Call To Action

Your CTA button needs to stand out and it should be colorful – not black or gray.

There’s an almost an endless variety of options for creating call to action buttons, including fonts, borders, and grading. And, according to Neil Patel at Crazy Egg, you can simplify this by keeping the following key points in mind. Your CTA button:

  • Needs to be a color.
  • Needs to stand out from the background.
  • Needs to harmonize with the background.
  • Needs to grab your attention.

For points 2 and 3, it may be helpful to think of the design principle of contrast. Contrast is created by juxtaposing colors opposite each other on the color wheel. That is, a splash of red over top of green (opposites on the color wheel) will create contrast, and contrast is what makes a two dimensional image ‘pop’ – or stand out from the background.

As most online readers have become trained as to what a CTA button ‘should’ look like, you want to make it look ‘clickable’. Mr. Patel’s post on how to optimize CTA buttons for conversions explores this in depth.

2. Vague, Passive Language

Just like your content, the language you use in a call to action needs to be strong, clear and concise. Without it, your readers will be unsure what action to take and will simply drift away from your page, never to return. Make your copy influential with the following:

  • Start your copy with subjects or verbs.
  • Make the verb stand out.
  • Use numbers and make them specific.
  • Use adverbs sparingly. Action verbs and colourful adjectives are much more effective.
  • Keep your copy short and to the point, much like a Tweet.
  • Emphasize the benefits.

This Step by Step Guide to Mastering the Design and Copy of Calls-To-Action from HubSpot gives some good examples of the above points.

3. Not Conveying the Benefits

Your call to action has to answer the reader’s question “What’s in it for me?” If there’s no inherent value in taking action, they won’t. Remember, online readers are looking for information, education or entertainment – they’re not interested in your opinions, products or services. “They’re only interested in the solutions you can provide”. And if they don’t find it in your CTA, they’ll move on to one that does.

Keep in mind that features are not benefits. A benefit is something that will provide the solution to their problems, or fulfill their needs. And one of the most effective ways for presenting benefits is with a bullet list. Why? Because bullets lists:

  • Are easy to scan.
  • Position the strongest benefits first and last (where the eyes focus).
  • Are concise.
  • Improve the readers’ sight line.

4. CTA Placement – Above or Below the Fold?

In today’s marketing world, the emphasis is on having your CTA above the fold. The main reason is that expecting readers to scroll or search for a button to click is asking too much of them. While there’s plenty of studies to support this position, there are those that feel this tactic is too aggressive – that demanding the reader take immediate action is more harmful than beneficial.

An effective CTA can also be below the fold, using directional signals to entice readers through the copy until they’re comfortable with taking action. And if your copy is particularly long, placing multiple CTA’s throughout will help to break up the copy, making it more interesting.

CTA placement can be a bit challenging, as it depends on a variety of factors. It’s really one of those features that’s best determined by testing. This post on CTA placementfrom Oli Gardener on Unbounce is a good read, and he makes a couple of key points:

  • Use design to make your CTA stand out.
  • Don’t place your CTA’s in busy or cluttered areas.
  • A/B test the CTA placement for best results.

5. An Inconsistent Message

The message contained in your CTA has to be the same as that on your landing page. For example, if your CTA offers a free spot in a $500 webinar but your landing page is offering a rehashed eBook, there are those who will be a bit suspicious and back away from further action.

Another way of saying this is, don’t oversell and then under-deliver. Hype kills. To gain trust, you must be authentic with your customers, even if it’s just to get an email address. Because without trust, you won’t be able to convert readers into loyal followers, which in the end, means no sales.

And there you have five of the more common mistakes found in calls to action that impede conversions, subscribers, and ultimately your bottom line. Check your site to see if you’re making any of these errors. It won’t take much to fix them, and the transition from traffic to sales is well worth the effort.

Cari Bennette is a freelance writer and editor at JetWriters.com. She loves work with texts and has 4+ years experience in various areas of writing: from editing research papers to creating blog posts to crafting sales copies. Follow Cari on Twitter.